Chief Rochas Okorocha, The Imo State
Governor, has said the exit of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar from the ruling All
Progressives Congress is not a good development for the party.
Atiku, a former Vice-President, defected recently from the ruling party to the Peoples Democratic Party.
Okorocha spoke with journalists after he
received an honorary doctorate degree at the Adekunle Ajasin
University, Akungba Akoko, Ondo State on Saturday. He described Abubakar
as a heavyweight politician.
He said, “I have taken a holistic view
of our party, it (Atiku’s exit) is not the best because no matter how
anybody thinks, Atiku carries some political weight. His leaving our
party is not the best.”
The Imo State Governor, however, noted
that since Atiku had decided to move on politically by going to another
political party, the APC would make amends and his (Atiku) place would
be filled up accordingly.
Reacting to the recent statement
credited to the National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, which
said there would be no automatic ticket for President Muhammadu Buhari
for the 2019 presidential election, against the position of the APC
governors, Okorocha maintained that he would support Buhari for a second
The chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum
had earlier said all the governors would support the sole candidacy of
President Buhari in the 2019 election but Tinubu disagreed insisting
that the APC’s presidential candidate must emerge through a primary.
Okorocha said, “The
(Tinubu’s) statement came to me as a surprise; come to think of it, I
never referred to him. I referred to the governors of Nigeria, including
the PDP governors and I said only one or two of them had not joined
“Since I made the statement, no governor
has said something contrary to what I said. I am surprised that Asiwaju
will now be speaking for the governors. He looks like somebody crying
more than the bereaved.
I did not see reason for the statement
actually. But he commands my respect and I don’t want to take issue with
the national leader of my party.
“What I mentioned was for the governors
and secondly what I said is support. The word I use is support that does
not mean there will not be a primary. Governors can only contribute 37
votes; we still have over 5,000 votes up there.
What I was talking about was about
governors. I was not talking about other party members. Governors alone
do not determine the standard bearer of a party.”